Biden administration will cooperate in GOP investigation of Maui fire

 August 31, 2023

In a win for the people of Maui, the Biden administration announced this week that it will cooperate with Republican efforts to investigate how deadly fires on the island were handled. 

That's according to the Washington Examiner, which cited an announcement made on Wednesday by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell.

Karine Jean-Pierre "would be happy to testify"

Criswell's confirmation came during news briefing where she appeared alongside White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

Jean-Pierre was quoted as telling reporters that she "would be happy to testify on what the federal role was in this process" should House members ask her to do so.

The Examiner noted that for her part, Criswell refused to offer any opinion on the way Hawaiian state officials had responded to the disaster.

"I was not there during the response, and so I would be out of line to assess how they responded during the time because I did not experience what they were experiencing," she said.

Only $700 for those who have been displaced

"What the federal government does is we come in and we support their efforts, and that's exactly what we did, and we will continue to support their recovery and their rebuilding efforts as they move forward," the official went on to add.

Still, Criswell did confirm that there are no plans to offer fire victims any financial help beyond a one-time payment of $700.

That decision has brought criticism of the administration, as did President Joe Biden's initial response to the fire, which critics saw as being dismissive.

President criticized over response

When asked by a reporter on August 14 if he had anything to say about the then-rising death toll in Maui, Biden responded by saying, "No comment."

The remark was slammed by many online, including former Trump advisor and conservative commentator Stephen L. Miller. He complained that Biden seemed more interested in vacationing than helping those who have been affected.

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